9.28.2017

Food Diary for FASTer Way to Fat Loss

Photo Credit


A little more than a week stands between me and the end of my first round of FASTer Way to Fat Loss. For the past 6+ weeks I've been sticking to a meal + fitness routine. I explained why I started this program in this post, and gave y'all an almost half way through update in this one. The one question many of you have asked me is: what is your meal plan like?

I thought it'd be easiest to answer that question by sharing a breakdown of a typical week. I'm sharing my tips + some of my favorite brands below. And if you're interested, the next round starts October 9th!! You can sign up with my trainer Val, here. I'll be doing this next round too and would love to do it with some of y'all! Would be great motivation and encouragement :)

A few notes before we begin:
  • Typically the days are the same each week, food wise. Some weeks a juice cleanse or all day fast are added (which is 100% optional). But that's only about two days during the entire program. So, we'll just follow a typical week for this post's sake. 
  • Calories are tabulated through the My Fitness Pal app. During the Prep Week (first week of the round, so this program is technically 7 weeks) you'll learn more how to log your daily food and how many calories you should be consuming. For my case, 1620 is the total amount of calories I should consume each day.
  • Each day you break your FAST at around noon. You want to work your body down to an 8hr feeding window each day. The longer your body is in a FASTed state, the more calories you'll burn. You won't start out doing this your first week. You will gradually work towards this. Took me about two weeks into the program for my body to adapt. 
  • I highly recommend these wireless headphones for your workouts. I learned early on that a cord getting in the way was less than ideal. 
  • The last piece of advice is make sure you consult your doctor and/or dietitian. I am no expert. And after an entire juice cleanse debacle where I had to quit for health reasons, I learned the lesson that I should have consulted someone and did more research first. Same goes with any aspect of this (or any) program. Just do what is best for you, your body and your health. 




Monday and Tuesday
Low Carb + Sprints

On Mondays and Tuesdays I will typically do my workout before work. These days consist of sprint intervals, usually on an elliptical, bike or treadmill + some light abs. These workouts are designed to get your heart rate up, so you burn fat and sweat out the toxins. I'll drink anywhere from 32-50oz of water during and after my workout, till I break my FAST at noon. I'll have a 12oz black coffee anytime during the morning. Black coffee or herbal tea will not break your fast. You can also have creamer and sugar, just make sure it's under 50 calories and be sure to log it in your food diary. 

At around noon (or sometimes later if I'm not hungry yet) I'll have my protein shake. I prefer the taste of CalNaturale Svelte Organic Protein Shake. You can get them from Amazon and they come in many flavors. This one tastes just like a chocolate milkshake (I'm not lying)! 

Then around 2:00pm or so I'll have "lunch." Which is usually a cobb salad or honey roasted turkey with a low-carb wrap, lettuce and chipotle mayo. The Mission Carb Balance wrap is perfect for low carb days, as it's only 4 net carbs (carbs minus fiber). My favorite cobb salad is from Au Bon Pain; the Chicken Avocado Cobb with Avocado Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing. So, so tasty. Another option is low fat or light chicken salad. I LOVE the one from Territory Foods. It's very tasty and high cal, which helps get your calorie intake in for the day. This can be hard sometimes on low carb days.

Snacks on low carb days: cucumber and hummus, roasted almonds, hard boiled eggs, low carb protein bars, herbal tea, salami, prosciutto or low cal cheese. Yes, I still eat cheese and meat!! 

For dinner I have been eating a lot of shrimp, tilapia or salmon. I love blackened tilapia. I'll pair with brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli or a side salad. 

The main point of low carb day is to stay under 50 net carbs (carbs minus fiber). The more fiber you consume, the more carbs you can have. Just be very careful with this, ha. When using the My Fitness Pal app, it'll track all of this for you. So you can easily plan out your meals a week in advance. Make sure you also note that fruit, veggies and gluten free snacks STILL HAVE CARBS. Read your labels carefully and play around with the MFP app. 

Wednesday and Thursday
Regular Calorie + Strength Training

Yesssss, now we can have carbs! I usually do these workouts in the evenings after work, as they can take a little bit longer. Strength training days consist of lifting weights and abs. One day you'll focus on legs and back, the other day you'll focus on arms and abs. The beauty of this program is that you're given workouts for at home, at the gym or beginner level. So you don't have to be a pro or have a gym membership. I bought weights and a yoga mat from TJMaxx so I can do these workouts in my apartment. 

I'll sleep in these mornings to rest up, but continue consuming lots of water and coffee till I break my fast at noon. I'll usually break this with a Dannon Light & Fit Strawberry Greek Yogurt (only 80cals) + add a scoop of Kashi Berry Crunch (my absolute favorite). This makes it like granola in your yogurt. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, ha! 

For lunch I'll have either a salad from Sweetgreen, another Territory Foods meal, a turkey sandwich (yes I still eat bread and gluten) with an apple (cutting out the potato chips is key), or leftovers from dinner the night before. Sometimes if I have a big "breakfast," I'll opt for a smoothie from the Protein Bar or Jamba Juice.

Snacks for regular calorie day: Grab the Gold Bars (high protein and taste like peanut butter crunch), almonds, rX bars, fruit of any kind, protein bars, almonds, pretzel crisps and hummus, cheese, blue corn chips and salsa, avocados, etc. 

For dinner I'll either make gluten free pasta with ground turkey meat sauce (the quinoa and brown rice pasta from Trader Joe's is 100% my fave and tastes just like pasta. Corey even tried it and says it tastes no different), have another fish with veggies, chicken and sweet potato fries (love sweet potatoes!!), or another Territory Foods meal. 

The key for regular calorie day is balancing your macros (which again, you can do in the My Fitness Pal app). Macros are 50% carbs, 30% fat (mostly good fats like avocados), and 20% protein. Based on what you eat throughout the day, you want to hit these macros as close as you can. You don't want to eat too many carbs or too much fat. You can still have cheese, bread and wine!! Just make sure it's factored into your macros and you're still eating enough substantial food for your workouts. 

Fridays and Sundays
Low Calorie + Active Rest Day

On Fridays and Sundays you focus on low calorie and active rest. Meaning, you still focus on hitting your macros but you eat 25% less calories. So for me, I consume 1620 calories each day (or I try to). On low cal day, I focus on eating 1215 calories. I consume a lot of the similar foods I have on regular calorie day. And for the active rest you can either do a yoga class, light jog or run around your neighborhood or at the gym, a long stretch session, spend time in the sauna or just rest, ha. It's up to you!

Saturday
Strength Training Day Calories + Leg Day

Saturdays I'll be honest are the hardest workout. BUT I love that it falls on a Saturday. I'll take my time waking up, have some coffee and water, and hit the gym around 10:00am. There's usually no one in my apartment building's gym at this time. Leg Day focuses on a lot of speed intervals with lunges, leg exercises and high intensity abs. I crushed last week's!! It took me about 4 weeks to really do the workout and finish it entirely. So don't get discouraged in the beginning. 

The best part is, if you crush the workout you can enjoy 25% MORE CALORIES!! These are the days you'd consume that breakfast bagel, cupcakes or lots of bread, beer or wine, etc. Obviously still stick to your macros for the day, but you can consume more calories. Ideally you eat your "reward food" right after the workout. For me, that's definitely Chick-Fil-A, a blueberry bagel from Bethesda Bagels or game day food. It's perfect this day falls on a Saturday, because resisting game day snacks is next to near impossible, ha. 



Okay, so I know that's a TON of information. And I won't lie, I was super overwhelmed at first. But, you totally catch on quickly. Plus, that's why you start with a prep week. Gives you seven days to try out the program, ask questions and get into a routine. Which was super helpful to me and a large reason that I've stuck with this program. I have really good days, and some days I just can't stop snacking on the pumpkin crunch caramel corn at work. It happens. It's about balance. And for me, I have consistently worked out 4-5 days a week for the past five weeks. That's a HUGE win for me. 

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to email me or comment below. Happy to help! And don't forget to signup to do the next round with me. I'm very excited to kick off my second round, and plan to focus on discovering more recipes and building up my strength in the gym.


9.21.2017

Packing List for Richmond

Richmond Packing List




This weekend I'm heading down to Richmond, Virginia for a fun girls weekend with Jenn and Laura. I've never been to Richmond, but it has been on my "must visit" list since moving to DC. It's only about a two hour drive from DC, so it makes for the perfect quick weekend getaway. We're leaving tomorrow afternoon and will be doing a media visit with Visit Richmond and the newly renovated Jefferson Hotel. I've heard nothing but great things about the Jefferson Hotel, and we've had tons of friends share their must do's in Richmond. We'll be visiting The Quirk Hotel's rooftop one evening and restaurant for brunch on Saturday, eating all the Southern food we can, maybe stopping by a brewery and shop around some of the stores in town. Anything you've done that we can't miss?

I started shopping for this trip a few weeks back when the weather started to feel like fall. I even switched my closet over last weekend thinking the cooler temps were here to stay. Well, I totally jinxed myself cause, at least for the next week or so, temps are well back into the mid 80's. Especially for this weekend. So I'm totally having to rethink the items I planned to take with me. Right now I'm trying to find the balance of dressing for fall and utilizing some of the new pieces I got, and being comfortable in the heat. Above are some of the items I'll definitely be packing. My focus will be on layers; pairing dresses with a denim jacket for the cooler mornings. Booties are still a go, as well as fall colored accessories.

Be sure to follow along on our trip via Instagram Stories. I'll be sharing all the behind the scenes + snippets from our visit, there. Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Special thanks to the Jefferson Hotel and Visit Richmond for sponsoring our trip.

9.15.2017

The Weekender, Vol. 10



Now that football season is in full swing, my weekends have and will be consisting of game day Saturdays and NFL Sundays. I'm not mad about it. Tomorrow is a HUGE game for Tennessee. We play the Florida Gators. Probably our most rivaled and hated SEC football team. All in good fun though (unless we lose, ha!). This season thus far has been twice the fun, as I've adopted a second team to cheer for. Corey's alma mater, Clemson Tigers. Thankfully I am not venturing away from my favored orange AND lucky that he's not a fan of another SEC team. It has been fun cheering for them.

To kickoff the season and get Corey excited for the National Champ's new season, I wanted to put a fun gift together for him. I call it his "football bucket." I found this metal Clemson ice bucket on Amazon, and then filled it with his favorite things. A new Smathers & Branson belt, his favorite drink of choice and Clemson tumbler to drink it in, and some odds and ends from Swoozies and Country Club Prep. I had so much fun putting this together. It's an idea y'all can use for any occasion or holiday. You don't have to go quite as pricey with the items either. Just find a base (box, bucket, bag, etc.) and add his/her favorite things. A simple way to dress up any present.

He (and I) will be using some of these items this weekend as Clemson takes on Louisville. College Game Day will be there, so I'm sure our morning tomorrow will consist of coffee, breakfast and lots of ESPN.

Hope y'all have some fun weekend plans ahead! Before you go, checkout 10 links I'm loving. Happy Friday, friends!

  • I love anything fall, food included. Checkout these delicious fall apple recipes from Carly.
  • Getting all the fall feels from Sole Society's new arrivals. So many beautiful colors and styles.
  • I'm already counting down the days till Chip and Joanna's new line launches at Target. You better believe I'll be first in line to shop all the pieces. 
  • How amazing are these leopard-print pants?! I love the navy and black combo.
  • Nordstrom is launching a new store. One that won't have a single article of clothing in it. Read more on their newest venture, here
  • These floral print flats are perfect for fall! The print is almost identical to these that I shared with y'all last month. 
  • For my DC friends, I'm super excited for the newest Kendra Scott location to open in Georgetown. The soft opening is Saturday, September 30th. They'll have sips, sweets, and a free gift with purchase. Hope to see y'all there!
  • Definitely purchasing this top for my trip home to Tennessee next month. It would be perfect to wear to the football game vs. South Carolina. 
  • Thinking I need to add this embellished bag to my closet for fall. Love a good pop of emerald green!
  • How fun are these sneakers?! I am on such a sneaker kick lately (pun intended, ha!).

9.13.2017

FASTer Way To Fat Loss, 2.5 Week Update

Photo Via




Two and a half weeks y'all. Technically three and a half if you count "prep week." But for two+ solid weeks I have been committed to the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program.

I explained why I started the program, here. And as promised, I wanted to update y'all throughout the process. There have been a lot of wins over the past two weeks and I'm really proud of the progress I've made thus far. Let's discuss some of these wins:

  • I've stuck with the program. I've tried so many trendy things in the past. They just haven't stuck. I'd start a program, then a few days later I'd stop. Why? Because they weren't programs I could adopt long-term. Programs like Whole30 were too difficult, lacked a focus on exercise and weren't something I could continue every day. Two weeks may not seem like a lot to some of y'all, but for me it's a HUGE win. 
  • I've attempted the workouts. I've only missed three workouts of the past 2.5 weeks. There have been some that have been easy, and others that I couldn't complete. But, I've attempted them. And that's a huge win considering I've worked out maybe a total of 5 times over the past few years. 
  • I'm lifting weights; something I've never done before. 
  • I'm feeling the results. They say you won't see results till about week 4 or 5. But I already feel them. My stomach is NOT bloated and pants that were tight before, are now loose. I also feel a lot more rested and positive. I haven't felt like I was in a slump, as tired, or in a mood. I hope to also see these results soon. 
  • I have made better choices. I walked past the pumpkin spice flavored products at the store. I ignored the pumpkin spice cookies, doughnuts and muffins at Trader Joe's. I haven't had a single latte or PSL thus far. I passed on the free doughnut at Church. I have drank far less alcohol. I've tried gluten free options, gluten/dairy substitutes and focused on hitting my macros each day (50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein). I'd say this is my BIGGEST win. I love food more than anything. I'm a huge foodie. Especially this time of year. So I'm proud of myself for learning to say NO and focusing on trying healthier options.

These are just some of the wins over the past two weeks. I also can say that I haven't given up wine. I haven't given up cheese. I haven't given up chocolate. The key is... moderation. Using these foods as rewards for completing my hard workout, and limiting them to certain days. That brings us into the challenging aspects thus far. Some of those include:

  • The shorter eating window. The FAST part of FASTer is all about intermittent fasting. Which I explained here. Basically you are trying to shorten your eating window to 8 hours total for the day, allowing your body to feed off the "fat" during the remaining 16 hours. The longer your body is in a fasted state, the more calories you'll burn. Hence the point of this program. 
  • Not a fan of gluten free. I am not gluten free, medically. Nor will I ever choose to go gluten free. If anything, trying the gluten free products has made me appreciate gluten that much more. And how special it is that I can have it and not get sick. Before, I was eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Carb overload. Now, I use gluten as a reward and eat it in moderation. While I've found some gluten free items or substitutes that I like, most I have found to not be my favorite. 
  • Not eating all the things. I love everything about fall. From the pumpkin spice lattes to the pumpkin muffins, most of my fall diet consists of everything pumpkin. This season, I'm focusing on finding the healthier versions of my favorite seasonal treats and in moderation. I still enjoy the wine. I still enjoy junk food. But only on certain days and limiting the quantity. 
  • The workouts. That's pretty self explanatory. Some of them are easy, while most are challenging for me. I haven't been in the gym in years, so it is taking awhile for my body to adjust. 
  • Finding the balance of things. While I do pretty well during the week, I have found the weekends to be tough. Especially now that football season is upon us. When you go to a bar to watch the game, it can be hard to find healthy options. Or when I've gone to a baseball game straight from work, it has been difficult to find something healthy for dinner. 
  • My body hates me at times. My body isn't used to working out this much, eating far less carbs, or all the... fiber. I've never had this much fiber in my diet, ever. But I hope my body will adjust after the first few weeks, haha. 
  • Eating enough. That may come as a surprise to some of y'all. My allotted calories per day is 1620. I haven't even come close to that. Because of the shorter eating window, I find myself not eating enough. And a lot of healthy food options are low-cal. Like lettuce, veggies, etc. So while I feel "full," I'm learning to create higher calorie meals. That way I'm giving back to my body, after working it to death, ha.

All of these are the wins and challenges I've faced so far the past 2.5 weeks. I'm excited to see how these change over the next 3.5 weeks of the program. 

Would y'all be interested in seeing a post about the meals I've been eating? As well as some of the products I've found that I really like? Let me know in the comments below.

And before you go, don't forget to enter the $500 Nordstrom giveaway I shared on the blog last week. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

9.06.2017

Hamptons Trip Recap



Dress: ASOS (old) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker | Earrings: Kendra Scott (c/o)
Elephant Bracelet: Julie Vos | Lip Shade: Bobbie Brown - Rose Brown
Photos by Allie Provost

A few weeks ago I trained up to New York City with Jenn to meet up with our friends Dana and Allie. Both are former Washingtonian's now living in Manhattan. Jenn and I don't get to see Dana or Allie nearly enough, so earlier this summer we planned a fun weekend for us to get together at Allie's Hamptons house. Jenn and I had never been before, so it made for the perfect place to celebrate our final days of summer.

We got into East Hampton late Thursday evening and headed straight to dinner at the EMP Summer House. Which was a dream. Eleven Madison Park is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation at in the city. This summer it closed down for updates, so they moved their staff out to the Hamptons for a restaurant pop-up. The food was amazing. I had probably the best peach cobbler I've ever had in my life there!

Friday wasn't the best weather, so we headed out for some shopping and a visit to Wolffer Estate Vineyard.



I've been dying to visit this winery ever since stumbling upon them on Instagram. They're best known for their "summer in a bottle." We did a wine flight, shared a charcuterie board and snapped a few photos before the rain hit. We finished off the day at Topping Rose House for dinner (which was incredible... and my favorite meal of the trip).

Saturday we woke up to a gorgeous summer day, so we headed out to get some outfit photos in. Our first stop was Lunch for delicious lobster rolls (my first time ever!!). Can't believe I had never tried one before, but I'm so glad I saved my first one for this place.







Dress: Brooks Brothers (old) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker | Necklace: Bauble Bar
Elephant Bracelet: Julie Vos | Lip Shade: Bobbie Brown - Rose Brown
Photos by Allie Provost

Next we headed to Montauk to visit the Summer House and Lighthouse. We opted to not pay for the entry fee to visit the lighthouse, and instead walked around the ocean side path. I'm so glad that we did because it was the best photo-op. I even got to take in the ocean for a bit while we took turns taking outfit pics with Allie.



After a long, but of course fun, day touring around and snapping photos, we headed back to the house for a casual dinner of New York style pizza (my fave) and some wine. We then headed to the Wolffer Estate Wine Stand to catch the sunset and of course, enjoy some more wine.



On our last day in the Hamptons we enjoyed a delicious diner breakfast in Montauk and stopped by the Beach Club to snap a few more photos. We then headed back to the house to enjoy the rest of the day relaxing by the pool. It was so nice to catch a few rays before our long train rides back to DC.



It was the most fun weekend and I'm already counting down the days till I can go back. I love that blogging brought me so many amazing friends. Allie was such a gem for hosting us, and it was so great seeing her and Dana!! Till next time.